FIFA 22 is coming this year – but you probably didn’t need us to tell you that. An annual FIFA release is as inevitable as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best-selling games every year.
The number one football fest remains an extremely lucrative endeavour for EA, particularly with its focus on Ultimate Team game modes, and FIFA 22 will be no different. But the biggest hurdle that annual sports games have to overcome is: what makes this version worth it compared to the last?
Well, this year EA Sports is banking on its new HyperMotion technology, which is essentially a brand-new motion capture and animation suite which EA believes will have a transformative impact on the beautiful game. This feature is, however, a next-gen console exclusive which has the potential to ruffle some feathers.
Still, it looks like EA is trying to use this new generation to step up its game with FIFA 22 which is pretty fortunate as, while FIFA 21 impressed us in some respects, it was far from perfect. Below you’ll find a roundup of all the recent news and rumors around FIFA 22, including trailers and what benefits to expect from pre-ordering.
- 1 FIFA 22: Cut to the chase
- 2 Improved defending
- 3 A brand new engine
- 4 Ultimate Team changes
FIFA 22: Cut to the chase
- What is it? A football simulation game with official backing from FIFA, released annually
- When can I play it? October 1, 2021
- What can I play it on? PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Stadia and PC.
FIFA 22 release date
EA has announced that FIFA 22 will release on October 1, 2021. The game will be released on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Stadia and PC.
FIFA 22 pre-orders – what do you get?
The game is available to pre-order now, and those who opt for the FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition will be able to play four days early from September 27. You also get:
- Limited Time Offer
- FUT Heroes Player item
- Ones to Watch Player item
- Dual Entitlement –
- free Xbox Series X|S upgrade/PS5 upgrade
- 4600 FIFA Points
- Team of the Week 1 Player item
- Kylian Mbappé Loan item
- FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick
- Career Mode Homegrown Talent
The standard edition of FIFA 22 includes:
- Team of the Week 1 Player item
- Kylian Mbappé Loan item
- FUT Ambassador Loan Player Pick
- Career Mode Homegrown Talent
Those who subscribe to EA Play can access a 10-hour trial from September 22, save 10% off your pre-order, and claim these member rewards:
- Ultimate Team Season XP Boosts
- VOLTA FOOTBALL season apparel
- Monthly FUT Stadium customization items
Pre-ordering is also the key to accessing EA’s Dual Entitlement benefit, which allows for free upgrades from the previous generation of consoles within the same console family, so from PS4 to PS5 and from Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S.
FIFA 22’s Dual Entitlement Program is only available to those who pre-order the Ultimate Edition this year as the Standard Edition is not eligible.
FIFA 22 cover star
EA has confirmed that French football star Kylian Mbappé will return as the cover star of FIFA 22 after appearing on the covers of FIFA 21 last year.
Mbappé was confirmed as FIFA 22’s cover star by the official EA Sports FIFA Twitter account, which posted a picture of the FIFA 22 Ultimate Edition cover. The cover features Mbappé at the centre with his back to the camera, gesturing to his name on the back of his Paris Saint-Germain kit.
Honoured to welcome back @KMbappeThe #FIFA22 cover star Stay tuned for the game-changing reveal on July 11th https://t.co/oT0kH2cJ7b pic.twitter.com/w1NABM6FjjJuly 9, 2021
FIFA 22 trailers
Ultimate Team official trailer
Get a good look at how FUT will work in FIFA 22 in this four minute trailer for the game mode.
Official VOLTA trailer
Love to play with flair? Then check out this official trailer for FIFA 22’s VOLTA which explains how the mode will work this year.
Second official gameplay trailer
Towards the end of July 2021, EA Sports released a second, more substantial gameplay trailer that focuses on the big new features we can expect in FIFA 22, particularly the current-gen version on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and Google Stadia.
HyperMotion animation technology is once again the big draw, but the trailer also spotlights features like improved AI, player humanization and more.
Official Reveal trailer
In July 2021, EA Sports revealed the official FIFA 22 trailer, introducing us to the next-gen HyperMotion gameplay technology.
EA also gave us our first look at FIFA 22 gameplay in July, during an EA Play Live Spotlight segment. Across a half-hour stream, the game’s development team went in-depth on new next-gen features, including HyperMotion technology.
What is HyperMotion technology in FIFA 22?
HyperMotion is a new gameplay technology that promises to revolutionize FIFA 22. It uses a combination of real-time motion capture, as 22 professional footballers took to the pitch wearing Xsens suits that allowed EA to record an “unprecedented volume of high-quality real-human movement data”, which powers how both individual players and teams move across FIFA 22.
FIFA 22 then uses “a cutting-edge proprietary machine learning algorithm” which learns from over 8.7 million frames of capture footage, and creates new animations in real time to create “organic football realism”, according to EA’s website. It means that FIFA 22 will feature over 4,000 new animations. EA delved into the technology in a recent EA Play Spotlight segment, showing off gameplay which you can watch above.
The catch is that this feature is only available on PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Stadia, which means last-gen console users and PC players will miss out on the benefits that HyperMotion technology promises to bring to the game.
FIFA 22 news and rumors
EA has revealed the full list of leagues and teams that will be available in FIFA 22 and it includes a brand new league—the Indian Super League. The ISL comprises 11 teams, which will take the total number of teams in the game to over 700. The full list can be viewed on EA’s official website.
EA has also entered into a new partnership with Lega Serie A which includes 16 exclusively licensed teams for FIFA 22 and a new EA Sports Player of the Month Award. The four remaining Serie A teams which won’t be represented authentically in the game are Juventus, Roma, Atalanta and Lazio as these are exclusive to eFootball. Napoli will also be exclusive to eFootball from 2023.
Division Rivals overhaul for FUT
EA has revealed that it’s overhauling Division Rivals for FIFA 22, introducing a new seasonal progression system and the Elite Division. As explained in EA’s Pitch Notes, Division Rivals is now a seasonal competition lasting around 6 weeks and will work on a ladder system. The system comprises Ranks, which reflect progress within a Division and unlock better Weekly Rewards; Stages, individual steps between Ranks; and Checkpoints so that you don’t lose progress and stay at the right skill level. So now, winning a match will see you move forward one Stage, losing will take you back a Stage (unless you’re at a Checkpoint) and drawing will keep you where you are. If you get two wins in a row you’ll start a “win streak” and that’ll see you move forward an extra Stage for every subsequent win.
Every player will start on Division 10 with the aim of moving up. The best players will have their eyes on the new Elite Division, which sits above Division 1 and is described by EA as being the place where “the best FUT players in the world can compete.” Once you reach the Elite Division, you’ll stay there until the end of the Season.
According to EA, “Matchmaking in Division Rivals aims to find the best possible match by looking for opponents in neighbouring Stages and Divisions while taking into account the player’s physical location when determining the FIFA Game Data Center that the match will be played on” but Elite Division players will only match with each other, based on Skill Ratings and location.
Volta’s new skill meter and signature abilities
EA is looking to make Volta stand out from other modes and has said that this year it’s prioritizing “playing with flair and rewarding players for taking each other on with Skill Moves, fancy passes, and wall passes.” The result of this is the new skill meter. Made up of three sections, each taking 1000 points to fill, players can earn points to fill the meter by doing things like making fancy passes, beating opponents using skill moves and successfully performing wall passes. Filling the first section of the meter will see the goal multiplier reach x2, meaning the next goal will count as 2 goals instead of 1. Hitting section 2 and 3 of the meter will see this multiplier become x3 and x4 respectively.
There’s also a new mechanic called Signature Abilities. There are three to choose from and according to EA they’re intended “to ratchet up the excitement and tension of gameplay, and to give you more agency and control over how you influence the game.”
The three abilities are Power Strike, which gives your Shot Power Attribute a 50% boost; Pure Pace, increasing max Speed and Acceleration Attributes; and Aggressive Tackle which allows players to knock opponents to the ground with charges and tackles.
Turn off opponent celebrations
For the first time, FIFA is letting players turn off opponent celebrations, an often frustrating aspect of the game when conceding a goal. In FIFA 22 it’ll be possible to effectively look away using the new Celebration Camera Focus setting, which will allow you to select to focus on your team’s reaction when an opponent scores, rather than their celebration. Changing it will effect every mode in the game, not just Ultimate Team.
Closed beta complete
FIFA 22’s closed beta has taken place. The beta was invite only and ran running from August 12 through until September 2. The first round of beta invites were sent on August 11 and a second round went out on August 25. The beta included five game modes: standard Kick Off, Pro Clubs, Career mode, Ultimate Team, and VOLTA. EA used the beta to garner feedback from players prior to the game’s launch.
Those who don’t get access to the beta might stand a chance of getting access to an open pre-release demo but EA hasn’t confirmed if there’ll be one this year just yet. Once common, it wasn’t available for FIFA 21 and there’s a chance that’ll be the case this year. We won’t know for sure until EA makes an announcement, though as the release date draws closer with no confirmation this a demo does look increasingly unlikely.
Custom clubs come to career mode
Great news for those of you who love customizing your squad down to the most minute detail. Custom teams are coming to FIFA 22’s career mode, and you’ll be able to really get lost in the weeds making the team that’s perfect for you.
You can of course alter all the cosmetic aspects of your team, including name, players, kit, crest and stadium. But you’ll also be able to adjust your overall star rating, transfer budget and focus on aspects like youth development and scouting.
Your custom team will be placed into a league of your choosing, and will overwrite the position of another team, which will be placed into the ‘Rest of the World’ category.
EA explains why the PC version won’t have next-gen features
PC players haven’t been particularly pleased by EA’s decision to keep its next-gen Hypermotion technology exclusively for PS5 and Xbox Series X, while giving PC players the same version of the game as those on PS4 and Xbox One. However, EA has attempted to give a reason for this decision.
In a statement to PCGamer, EA said, “Bringing HyperMotion technology and Immersive Match Day features to PC would have raised the minimum spec requirements and resulted in a large proportion of players unable to run the game. This would have significantly impacted our PC community who enjoy FIFA each year, with many players being excluded or forced to upgrade their machines to play the game. We are looking forward to all our PC players experiencing the gameplay advances and new season of innovation on offer in FIFA 22.”
FIFA 22 at EA Play Spotlight
EA provided a greater look at FIFA 22 in an EA Play Spotlight event. Three members of the development team shared insights into how HyperMotion technology impacts the game, as well as how FIFA 22 promises to be the most authentic representation of football.
Across the thirty-minute presentation, the game’s development team also discussed tactical AI in FIFA 22, which will be “driven by the power” of the new generation of consoles. The improved AI will see players on the pitch able to make up to 6 times more decision per second, with improvements to both attack and defence. A brand new goalkeeper system is also improving this last line of defence, “unlocking more reliable shot-stopping and smarter decision-making between the posts”, according to EA.
You can watch the full Spotlight above.
Alex Scott will be a commentator
Former professional footballer Alex Scott, who played for Arsenal in the Women’s Super League and has over 100 caps for England, will be the first female commentator in the FIFA series.
Scott will provide the goal reports in the game, whose main commentary team is Derek Rae and Stewart Robson.
PC version misses out on next-gen features
EA has confirmed that the upcoming FIFA 22 on PC won’t feature the gaming giant’s new HyperMotion technology, which uses advanced motion capture and machine learning to overhaul the game’s animation system.
The company has confirmed that HyperMotion technology will only be available on next-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X/S) and Google Stadia.
Players to feel more human
It seems like FIFA 22 is leaning into on-pitch personalities more than ever, as players will interact with each other based on the events occurring in a match. Players on the same team will be more welcoming and encouraging of each other, while opposing players could come across as more brash or argumentative.
Player expressions will also alter based on the match’s current scoreline, so if you’re 4-0 down, expect to see the lads looking understandably bitter.
Huge gameplay improvements
AI defending and goalkeeping is set to be much-improved in FIFA 22. Defenders will now act in a more sensible fashion and attempt to maintain formation as they advance across the pitch.
Goalkeepers are also becoming a whole lot more varied. Brick walls like Manuel Neuer will feel genuinely difficult to beat, and goalkeepers as a whole will see a similar injection of personality as the rest of your squad.
Finally, players can also make use of a new explosive sprint option. This means that especially fast players will become even more of a threat on the pitch, bursting into speeds that slower players simply can’t. That said, the skill will be difficult to master and much harder to control than a regular sprint, but it could make all the difference when the chips are down.
Online career mode?
A huge upgrade to FIFA’s staple career mode could be on the cards, if the description of EA’s online software engineer job listing is to be taken at face value.
Within the job description is the following line: “As an Online Software Engineer, you will help build our networked play development team – whether that be in our online career mode, ultimate team, or core online systems and protocols.”
While it’s unclear what this wording will ultimately lead to, it would be great to finally see a substantial shakeup of FIFA’s career mode. This could be in the form of online integration into the existing career mode format, or perhaps even a separate online mode entirely.
EA is looking ahead to a “massive year of innovation” across its entire line of sports titles (of which the FIFA franchise is a part.)
In a May 2021 conference call (via GamesRadar), EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson made big promises for EA Sports titles and simultaneously effectively confirmed that FIFA 22 is coming, saying: “All of our new EA Sports games are designed for next-gen console platforms including FIFA, Madden, NHL and EA Sports PGA Tour. We’re very excited by the opportunity to deliver for baseball fans around the world with the addition of Super Mega Baseball from Metalhead Software and MLB Tap Sports Baseball on mobile. EA Sports is also publishing the highest-rated sports franchise in the world with F1 2021, our first title from our recently completed Codemasters acquisition.”
It’s unsurprising that EA would want to make another FIFA, given Wilson noted that EA’s “FIFA experiences continue to engage more than 100 million players worldwide. More than 20 million players played FIFA Ultimate Team in the last year, and FIFA Ultimate Team matches were up an incredible 180%.”
In terms of Ultimate Team specifically, EA COO Blake Jorgensen noted that growth on this mode was up 30% year on year and said “we’ve gotten better and better at that over the life of the product, and we’ll continue to do that and we have optimism for the coming year and many years to come.”
What we’d like to see from FIFA 22
For the past few years, EA have often settled on a “good enough” approach to FIFA. Our FIFA 21 review is testament to that. This isn’t anomalous to annual sports titles, of course. However, fans are surely looking for something a bit more substantial for the new console generation.
In FIFA 21, attacking and striking felt fantastic, offering perhaps some of the tightest gameplay we’ve ever seen in that area. Unfortunately, the game’s defensive options left a lot to be desired. The system is more than showing its age at this point, and perhaps a full defensive overhaul should be on the cards for FIFA 22.
As mentioned in our review, dispossessing attackers was much tougher than it needed to be, with groups of defenders struggling to handle a single attacking player. Consequently, the improvements to attacking greatly overshadowed the stale defending mechanics, which often led to unbalanced matches.
A brand new engine
FIFA 17 was the first game in the series to make use of EA’s in-house Frostbite Engine. At this point, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, and frustrations players had with the game and the engine all those years ago are still prevalent today. However, a new console generation could come with a fresh engine for EA’s sports endeavors.
According to Gfinity, EA opted to stick to the Frostbite Engine for FIFA 21, as well as other recent games such as Need for Speed Heat, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This could signal that a new engine is waiting in the wings or at the very least being prepped for the new console generation. Here’s hoping that a new engine will allow EA to improve FIFA to an unprecedented degree.
Ultimate Team changes
As has been the case since the mode’s introduction, Ultimate Team was the big focus of FIFA 21. The controversial, microtransaction-heavy feature draws players in with its appealing pack opening system. EA is no stranger to the loot box phenomenon, and it’s clear this won’t change in FIFA 22.
FIFA Ultimate Team has been heavily criticized by fans as being too big of a focus on EA’s part, neglecting other modes that could be revitalized such as Career mode and Pro Clubs.
Another aspect of controversy is the advantage given to players willing to open their wallets on shiny new player packs. One can find success as a non-paying player if they’re skilled enough at the game, but for the casual FIFA player, there’s a stark difference in quality between teams that are bought with real money and those that aren’t.
FIFA 21 made some positive strides when it came to Ultimate Team. Co-op functionality was added to Ultimate Team in that game. However, it was tied to the single player experience, which provided another avenue of imbalance, as solo players could very easily be matched up with more than one player acting as their opponent.
A fully dedicated co-op mode would work wonders here. FIFA 21 did not allow the use of co-op in FUT Champions, which our review stated to be a missed opportunity for the game. Let’s hope FIFA 22 adds this much requested feature.